Yesterday I’ve become Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) in .NET Framework 3.5 ASP.NET Applications by passing the 70-562 exam!
First, I want to share with you my web development background:
- I have around 4 years of ASP .Net experience. Mainly, my experience is on .Net 1.1 and 2.0. I developed for mobile devices when there weren’t yet smart phones around us. I’ve worked on a solution that connected an Asus Palm to Nokia phones, first providing the interface, second providing the connectivity to a collection of webservices who provided encrypted and authentication for data exchanged.
- Then I’ve worked on a governmental website, creating features and maintaining it.
- Later on, I’ve managed the entire lifecycle of a website, from hosting, Windows Server / IIS maintenance to development and deployment of the website.
Let’s get to my experience in this exam…
Almost all blog posts claim that the .Net 3.5 is just an extension of .Net 2.0, but when getting deeper, you realize that those developers who worked on it really produced a good quality product with many improvements and many added features over the previous version. Mainly, you’ll understand here the point of having a .Net 3.5 certification.
Comparing .Net 2.0 to 3.5 we’ll find a big difference. For example:
- ASP.NET AJAX
- New ListView and DataPager Controls
- WCF Support for RSS, JSON, POX and Partial Trust
- Multi-targeting Support
.. and more on this you can read on Microsoft Official Statement.
Preparing the Exam
I first took a very good first look at the Self Paced Book. Considering my experience (but I believe I was too confident in it), I proposed myself that I will need a half month to prepare for this one. I’ve thoroughly read the book, I’ve read all the stuff and did the exercises in the Labs and also thought and implement the use cases. This was very helpful, but frankly not enough applied information, as the theoretical part was predominant. My goal was to learn and apply it, not just pass the exam.
So I used both the official preparation guide and a few other complementary good books to cover some of the aspects the training kit did not cover well enough, as follows:
|MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-562): Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
ASP.NET Application Development
|Pro ASP.NET 3.5 in C#
|Pro LINQ: Language Integrated Query in C# 2008
|Pro ASP.NET 3.5 Server Controls and AJAX Components
As I proceeded with my learning, I end up to the conclusion that I have to do the following steps in order to get it right:
- Read a chapter
- Reflect on it
- Find another good book if there were still questions on the theoretical part
- Do the labs
- Take the practice tests
- Find good solutions for the test cases – this is important because that gives you “company-like” training. They represent the best source of understanding the underlying technology better.
Taking the Exam
First of all, you should find a testing site on Prometric. Then you might want to call them to enroll for a test or just register at a test site that you’ve find on the website. They have a lot of 0-800 no-charge lines here. Beware that there are some very busy periods in the year, when a lot of people schedule their 2nd shot. I was in the position of searching all test sites in a city to find that 1 out of 10 had free seats.
Duration: 3 hours (but in the exam registration confirmation they say 4 hours)
Passing score: 700 / 1000
The required score to pass this exam is 700/1000. At the end of exam, you’ll get the score and note that there is only the pass or fail grade as the end result; beyond that the actual score you get does not have any importance.
During the exam, the best approach that I found was getting through the full set of questions once, set my responses and then going back for review each of them. Some questions body might be the answer for others if you are lucky enough(I suppose they have a huge database with questions for each exam, so the chance of two people having same questions is slim)
In the process of navigation from one question to the next there is a slight delay (in order of 4-8 seconds). You might want to consider these as well when setting up your time for your questions review. I only needed 2 hours for my exam so I finished really early.
My Points and Suggestions
- Use the training kit as a guide only. The questions in exam, even if they resemble with the ones from kit, are really deeper, tougher and trickier. You can get a deeper knowledge by practicing and reading the details on the documentation (MSDN).
- During the exam, you have to rely also on your feeling on technology – there are questions that can’t be found in the Training kit. Educated guessing and luck is the key for these. In my personal example, the mobile section needs further reading.
- A good idea is to have with you a bottle of water and some Mars or Snickers – the exam will be very brain intensive so you might need more fuel along the ride
- Don’t forget the two different papers required for your admission. They don’t mess with Identity.
That’s all, folks! Good luck with your certification!